Big names include Idris Elba, Skepta, Yoko Ono and Maxine Peak for MIF 2019.
As the world’s first festival of original new work and special events, MIF19 is staged every two years across a tapestry of venues around Manchester City Centre. This year, MIF19 takes place from 4th-21st July, with artists from across the world creating a catalogue of dynamic avant-garde events across Manchester.
YOKO, ‘Bells For Peace’ – Thursday 4th July, 6pm
No ticket required – just turn up on the day.
Yoko Ono welcomes the people of Manchester to gather in Cathedral Gardens and send a message of peace to the world. Join thousands of voices and a people’s orchestra of bells from both home and abroad, as the city sings out for peace and beckons the world to Manchester.
‘Tree’, Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah – Saturday 29th June – Wednesday 10th July
Electrifying and dramatic, Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah blend music and dance through story-telling. Drawing from the heart and soul of South Africa, the pair keep the audience at the centre of the action.
Janelle Monae and Special Guests – Thursday 4th July, 7pm
Making her MIF debut, Janelle Monae brings an exclusive show to the festival’s opening night.
The grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, producers, actress and activist is playing just two UK dates in 2019, and we’re lucky enough to be hosting one of them at the special open-air show at Castlefield Bowl.
Skepta, ‘Dystopia987’, Wednesday 17th-Friday 19th July, 7pm
Skepta invites you to enter a world of intimate and immersive experiences… held in a secret location. A waking dream, DYSTOPIA987 presents Skepta’s own version of the future which is as dark as it is riveting.
‘Parliament of Ghosts by Ibrahim Mahama’, Friday 5th – Sunday 21st July
Through creative installation, Ibrahim Mahama brings you the half-forgotten history of his home-country: Ghana. A haunting assemble of lost objects, the exhibition features an array of lovingly rescued and repurposed pieces to form a vast parliamentary chamber in the heart of the Whitworth.
‘School of Integration’, Friday 5th – Sunday 20th July
Powerful, provocative and inspiring, Tania Bruguera inverts the status quo and draws Manchester nearer to those who have made the city their home. The work will include local people who originally come from countries all around the world, giving free classes that teach language, ethics and culture.
‘Invisible Cities’, Tuesday 2nd-Sunday 14th July
Leo Warner, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Lolita Chakrabarti, 59 Productions and Rambert bring to life a series of fantastical places in this world-premiere production.
David Lynch at HOME, Saturday 6th – Sunday 20th July
The iconic David Lynch is taking over HOME for the duration of MIF19, featuring art, film, music and more. Immerse yourself in the world of the pioneering American artist, musician and director, from works such as Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks.
Music and film season to be announced.
‘Alphabus’, Friday 5th – Sunday 7th July
Reggie ‘Regg Roc’ Gray, the new York dancer-choreographer behind FlexN Manchester (MIF15) joins spoken word powerhouse Young Identity and dancers from New York and Manchester for a thrilling, intense exploration or power/weakness and triumph/tragedy.
‘Abida Parveen’, Friday 5th July, 7:30 pm
A collaboration between the world’s greatest spiritual singer and a legend of South Asian classical dance, together for one night only at MIF19. Parveen will be joined by dazzling kathak dancer Nahid Siddiqui for a one-off performance together.
‘The Anvil: An elegy for Peterloo’, Sunday 7th July
Catch the world premiere of a major new piece of music by composer Emily Howard, one of our most original musical voices, and writer Michael Symmons Roberts, winner of the Costa Poetry Award.
‘A Drunk Pandemic’, Friday 5th– Sunday 21st July
Finding unlikely inspiration from the Manchester cholera epidemic of the 1830s, the first major UK project by one of the world’s most playful and provocative art collectives brings five emerging local artists brought together by MIF and Contact. Tokyo’s Chim↑Pom are building a temporary brewery in a secret city-centre location. Tour the secret brewery, try the beer, check out the special events… just keep and open mind and expect the unexpected.
‘Atmospheric Memory’, Saturday 6th – Sunday 21st July
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s breathtaking immersive installation scours the atmosphere for the voices of our past. Inspired by computing pioneer Charles Babbage’s 180-year-old proposal that the air is a ‘vast library’ holding every word ever spoken, Atmospheric Memory asks: was Babbage right? Can we rewind the movement of the air to recreate long-lost voices? And if so, whose would we want to hear?
‘Utopolis Manchester’, Wednesday 10th– Saturday 13th July
Utopolis Manchester is a visionary site-specific work that uses intricate tapestries of sound and voices to transform our view of the city. Gathering in dozens of small groups at multiple locations, you head out to explore the people and places that shape Manchester’s daily life – and discover the many ways in which citizens build communities, society and democracy.
‘Leningrad: Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7’, Thursday 11th July
A rare opportunity to get close to the genesis of major new artwork, and to experience a towering landmark in modern music: Shostakovich’s ‘Leningrad’ Symphony. Written for more than 100 musicians and first performed in the midst of the siege of the composer’s home city during the Second World War, its creation was a triumph of the human spirit. Elder and the Hallé’s 2013 live recording won universal acclaim – and the piece will once more come alive in the concert hall.
‘Tuesday’, Wednesday 10th – Sunday 21st July
Tuesday’s an old man now, nearer the end than the beginning. As he looks back on his life, which began when he was abandoned in a church by his mother, we travel with him through time – into his memories, his dreams and the moments that shaped the person he became. Beautifully staged in a Grade I listed Victorian church, Tuesday is a magical and moving show about the people, places and experiences that make our journey through life unique.
‘Maggie the Cat’, Thursday 11th – Sunday 14th July
Troubled but tough, unloved but unbowed, Maggie the Cat is the captivating focus of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Now, acclaimed American choreographer Trajal Harrell places Maggie centre stage in his magnetic new dance work, a dazzling and provocative fusion of high art and pop culture that premieres at MIF19. Part one of a trilogy inspired by women who had to navigate treacherous waters to gain or retain their power, Maggie the Cat is a brilliant new work from one of contemporary dance’s most inspired and inspiring artists.
Re:Creating Europe, Friday 12th July, 8pm
In a year when a deeply divided Britain is set to leave the EU, Re:Creating Europe explores the continent through the speeches and texts that have shaped, traced and defined its history. Created by De Balie and ITA, directed by Ivo van Hove and performed by the ITA ensemble alongside some very special guest performers, Re:Creating Europe uses the words of artists, thinkers and political leaders – from Shakespeare to Goethe, Churchill to Obama.
‘The Fountainhead’, Wednesday 10th – Saturday 13th July
Ivo van Hove brings his International Theater Amsterdam ensemble to The Lowry to perform his most controversial work. The Fountainhead is a gripping adaptation of Ayn Rand’s uncompromising 20th-century classic, a major inspiration for libertarian politicians on both sides of the Atlantic.
‘Tao of Glass’, Thursday 11th – Saturday 20th July
Composer Philip Glass and performer-director Phelim McDermott (Improbable) have worked together on acclaimed opera productions in London, New York and beyond, and Tao of Glass is their most personal collaboration yet. Inspired by a dream, this world premiere marries ten meditations on life, death and Taoist wisdom with ten brand new pieces of music from Glass, presented by McDermott with an ensemble of musicians and puppeteers.
‘Studio Creole’, Friday 12th – Sunday 14th July
Seven leading writers from seven countries tell us seven new stories – in seven different languages. In an intimate, unique laboratory, we listen to them read: alone or together, in their original language or in live translation. And as we do so, their stories and languages fragment and fuse, leaving us to follow the narratives wherever they might lead us. This is Studio Créole, a compelling exploration of meaning and language in our tangled global world.
‘The Nico Project’, Wednesday 10th – Sunday 21st July
From her 1967 debut with The Velvet Underground to her premature death just two decades later, Nico was one of pop culture’s most enigmatic figures. Now, Maxine Peake (performer) and Sarah Frankcom (director) are conjuring this visionary artist up from the shadows with a stirring theatrical immersion into her sound, her identity and the world in which she fought to be heard.
‘Queens of the Electric Underground’, Saturday 20th July, 8pm
Mary Anne Hobbs (BBC Radio 6 Music) brings together five of the most exciting electronic artists on the planet for an evening of pioneering sound and breath-taking visuals. Don’t miss this immersive journey into the future of electronic music, featuring exclusive sets from Aïsha Devi ft. MFO, Klara Lewis, Katie Gatley, and Mary Ann Hobbs.
Thank You Very Much, Wednesday 17th July- Saturday 20th July
Down at the end of Lonely Street – or Smedley Lane, as they call it in North Manchester – choreographer Claire Cunningham and her ensemble of leading disabled performers invite you to join them for a drink at a Cheetham Hill social club as they pull back the curtain on the glittering world of the Elvis tribute artist.